A new report considers which countries are best prepared to handle difficult events in the future. Norway comes out on top scoring high for human rights and liberties, and environmental policies.
Planning for the future often means considering myriad possibilities and trying to figure out the best approach for each one. The governments of countries around the world do this on a regular basis, often consulting futurists who are able to provide a holistic view of the next 5, 10, 20 or even 50 years.
But preparing for the future should always be two-fold – putting the structures in place to handle future events, but also ensuring current policies and practices are future-thinking. According to a new index created by Carphone Warehouse, some countries are able to do both with aplomb – and earn the title of being “future-proof”.
Countries of the Future Index
While the world might be getting increasingly volatile and harder to predict, hardy futurists continue to churn out dozens of possibilities for how the world may look years from now.
Carphone worked with futurist Mark Griffin who notes that “the world is more likely to fall in the utopian end of the scale than dystopian” – and takes an optimistic view of the future of our planet and humanity. With his help, the ‘Countries of the Future Index’ was born.
The Index assesses 30 countries, chosen based on their projected GDP by 2030 and the speed of growth of their economy. It contains 6 categories (housing 19 different metrics) that assess how well prepared the country is for the current state of the world, as well as 8 ‘disaster event’ metrics, that predict how well the country might handle it if things go awry.
The disaster events include natural disasters, warfare and economic emergencies, while the current preparedness metrics look at infrastructure, communication and technology and human rights, among others.
Countries best prepared for the future
From setting out the infrastructure needed to support its growth, to ensuring its people and its environment are properly taken care of, these are the top 12 countries that fare the best on a variety of metrics (based on scores out of a possible 150):
- Norway – You might not be surprised to see Norway top this list. Some of the metrics it does particularly well on include environmental policies, human rights and liberties, natural resources and ability to handle extreme weather – all strong indicators of their ability to handle all manner of future events.
- Canada – Second on the list is Canada, scoring a total of 107.53 overall, and particularly well for country peacefulness. It scores healthily across almost all metrics considered, including solid performances for natural resources, cyber warfare and economic policies.
- France – Skip across to Europe for third position, with France showcasing strong scores for number of smartphones per person, as well as healthcare, infrastructure and natural resources. It also scores commendably for cyber warfare metrics and is predicted to handle extreme weather better than many of the other countries in the list.
- Germany – Staying in Europe for fourth place, Germany boasts high scores across many metrics. It tops the cyber warfare metric and has good scores for infrastructure, economic policies, natural resources, and extreme weather. A well-rounded performance deserving of the top 5.
- Australia – Head down under to round off the top 5, with Australia being the last country to score at least 100 out of a possible 150. It shines for metrics such as infrastructure, healthcare and country peacefulness, while scoring in the 8s (out of 10) for communication and technology, economic policies, cyber warfare and others.
- Switzerland – It’s no surprise that famously neutral Switzerland is one of the top scorers when it comes to peacefulness of the country. Other factors that place it in sixth place include topping the natural resources metric, and scoring high marks for economic policies and extreme weather preparedness.
- Netherlands – The Netherlands gets seventh place mainly thanks to its top scores in communication and technology, economic policies, cyber warfare and natural resources. It also scores respectably for human rights and liberties, healthcare and in the country peacefulness.
- UK – In eighth place is the UK, with its top metrics being infrastructure, communication and technology and cyber warfare. The UK also scores 8 out of 10 for factors such as human rights and liberties, economic policies and healthcare, among others.
- Singapore – Finally moving away from Europe, ninth placed Singapore is the first country after Norway to get a perfect score of 10 for more than one metric. Alongside its exemplary scores for both economic policies and climate preparedness, Singapore scores high for infrastructure, country peacefulness and communication and technology.
- Japan – Staying in Asia, Japan rounds out the top 10, getting full marks for infrastructure as well as featuring strong in a variety of metrics. It scores in the nines for healthcare, cyber warfare, the country peacefulness and natural resources.
- Spain – Back to Europe for the eleventh-placed country, and Spain gets a total score of 92.24, having scored well for infrastructure, healthcare and natural resources. While the rest of Spain’s metrics linger around the middle, it does boast good performances for communication and technology as well as ability to handle extreme weather.
- USA – Rounding off the top 12 is the USA, which is also the only country in the top 12 that doesn’t score at least 90 out of 150 points – despite scoring top marks for health security. Other metrics the USA has a good showing in include ability to handle extreme weather, communication and technology, and economic policies.
The Countries of the Future index explores 30 countries, so if your country isn’t listed above, the full index might be where to find it. View the index to explore the full dataset and find out just how well your country – and its neighbours – might do if the world gets struck by some of the most popularly-predicted future disaster.
Main image courtesy iStockPhoto.com